Emirates Man – The Winter Escape Issue – Download Now 

Award-winning Emirati filmmaker and entrepreneur, Mustafa Abbas, discusses showcasing his distinctive style in the region.

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?

I don’t mind starting my day by looking at my phone, however, any serious conversations are avoided for the first and last hour of my day. I believe that at this time we are the most sensitive and they particularly need to be focused on pleasant and positive things. While having my breakfast, both my phones are strictly put away. After that, I go over my agenda for the day, which includes scheduling meetings as well as the tasks set out to be completed.

What inspired you to enter the world of filmmaking?

This is a very good question because this industry has no straightforward path to enter, despite one having an education, degree or even qualifications. In some regard, you must build your own door and create an opportunity. This seemed to be the only way for me. Hence, filmmaking most definitely was not a decision, nor do I believe I chose it. My passion for films ran quite deeper than I realised, when I was a child. I was deeply fascinated by human nature, the narrative arc, the psychology and the motives of each character. However, what excited me the most was getting to know a fictional character so well that you start believing they are real. The grasping of human emotions is something I’m constantly learning about.

Where do you see the future of film heading towards in the region?

Well, it’s clear now that this region has no shortage of talent, dedication, or passion. We also have the tools and all the requirements to make good quality films and productions. Many Arab films have had international appeal and even made it to the Oscars. I’m excited to see where it goes.

Mustafa Abbas - Filmmaker

How has being based in the UAE supported you to grow in your chosen industry?

One of the main things in our lives that shape us is our environment. Both personally as well as geographically. It has made me realise that as a filmmaker, I have a responsibility to do my part in continuing to help shape the local film industry.

You’re also focused on building and shaping change in business- how do you approach this?

By putting human beings first. Whether our team or our customers. The most important thing is to offer people quality experiences, to improve one’s day, and go the extra mile. To make both employees and clients feel a sense of comfort and positivity. This is a motto we practice in each business that Legend Group owns.

The UAE supports those who decide to take a new turn in life. How has being based in the region allowed you to re-invent or change the direction of your life or career?

It has further motivated me to take my own path, and continue to grow in that direction, as a professional, and as a man. I believe every nation’s leader’s actions and feelings echo through the country, and we have the most inspirational leaders to look up to, who believe that nothing is impossible.

So much has been achieved in the UAE in 50 years, do you feel this pace and scale of growth is reflected in the businesses based here?

Thanks to the vision of our leaders, the UAE has achieved more in 50 years than most countries have achieved in 500 years. For me, this is a fact, and not an opinion.

What have been the challenges to building or scaling a business in the region and how did you overcome them?

Having started three businesses from scratch, I have come to the realisation that each business is unique, and I’m not talking about industries. I mean every single business is like a human being, an individual. It’s complex, layered and can grow or shrink. Even though you might plan everything before starting a business and continue working and doing your best to make it what you believe it can be, and it should be, sometimes it takes time to get to know that particular business, and what makes it tick, like a human being.

This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you?

I get to look back and say that I lived in the time of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and I saw his vision come to life and continue to see it come to life. As an Emirati, this is the greatest honour for me.

Emirates Man – The Winter Escape Issue – Download Now

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Images: Supplied